After a weekend of house guests (you know who you are!), I am hoping to get in about 2 hours of work today. I am not writing, just need to have notes ready to go so that first thing Monday I can sit down and do some writing. This means I need to organize, read, and take notes on some sources today. Sounds easy, but my biggest obstacle is dealing with a ton of sources that I have not even read yet. It is practically like I am sitting in an archive with boxes, and only a vague idea of what they contain, and trying to turn it into a dissertation. So, today I am trying to re-outline the chapter based on what I got through last week, and strategize what sources need to be at the top of the priority list.
I am trying to read and note take on sources AND write at the same time. I.e., I am not letting myself wait to “finish” reading all my sources before I start really writing. So I try to get a running start on Sunday, then for the rest of the week I spend some time writing and then some time note taking to prepare to write for the next day. At this stage, the actual writing (which is not highly analytical, its more like I am “writing up” what I find in my sources/research) is going fast but the reading and note taking is going slow.
I have managed to abide by one major rule since I started: Whatever I write, no matter how rough, I will make sure to use complete and totally accurate footnotes. No matter how long it takes or how distracting, I really cite meticulously. I’ve learned the hard way it is so much harder to do it later. Also, it makes even the roughest writing feel more finished, like something I could show someone.